PMP301: How to Respond to Negativity with Jen Schwanke

Jen Schwanke, ASCD author and veteran educator, joins me in this episode to answer listener questions.

Question #1

“How do you or would you mediate negative relationships between staff members in your building and the county/district office personnel to ensure it does not negatively impact the students/programs/initiatives in your school building?”

Jen’s response: When a storm devastated the family farm, Jen’s dad said, “You know, we can’t control the wind.” We cannot control what we cannot control. We will always have negative people in our building, and principals face this challenge all the time. 

How do we respond to the front of negative people in our buildings? 

1. Remember what you can control. 

2. Remember what matters. 

The place where those two circles cross is where we must focus our attention. Also, principals must focus purpose, priority and patterns of our teachers. (Listen-in for more…)

Question #2

“I just have a question: Where do I even start as a principal I feel as if there is so much I don’t even know so many technical terms and nuances? Any advice would be wonderful.” 

Will’s response: I reached back to this principal with a phone call, and this leader relayed to me some more context. He was assigned to a new leadership position at semester and was really struggling with feeling disconnected from teachers and unable to find his footing in the new position. Part of his struggle also came when listening to the show and hearing leaders with such focus and determination. He asked how to develop these traits and skills in his own leadership experience?

Listen-in for our full responses to these questions…

Now It’s Your Turn

What suggestions you would add to these questions? What questions do you have? Email them to We would be glad to feature your question in a future episode.

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker